Pushing Boundaries for Nike image

Pushing Boundaries for Nike How Dada Projects used Maxon One to create a series of elegant motion assets for Nike’s ‘Her Rise’ event.

When Nike approached Dada Projects to develop a library of motion design assets for their celebratory “Her Rise” event last year, marking 50 years of women in sports past, present and future, the studio responded with eclectic visuals that distilled key sports motifs with a female twist.

Employing Cinema 4D, Redshift, ZBrush, and After Effects, they created a dynamic event package comprising motion assets, event visuals, on-stage video, and a playful, interactive face filter.

Founded in 2021, Dada Projects is a female-led studio with a two-pronged mission to encourage women into 3D careers while challenging traditional approaches to 3D motion design. With collaboration, experimentation, and inclusivity at the heart of the studio’s approach, the team’s speculative aesthetic attracts attention and commissions from Selfridges, Adidas, Vogue, and London Fashion Week.

“We believe our aesthetics, creativity, and dedication to pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling are equally important factors that draw clients to us, says Founder and Creative Director Christina Worner, explaining how DADA aims to deliver exceptional work that transcends gender and resonates with a wide audience.

With a track record of working with different teams and establishing trust in place, the brief DADA received left room for creative freedom to produce multiple visual assets alluding to specific sports practiced by selected female athletes celebrated at the event.

But there were challenges, most notably Nike’s strict brand guidelines and minimal color palette. The visuals also had to be versatile enough to work across the specifications and requirements of various formats, including screens for live events, social media content, face filters, paid media advertisements, and print materials. And the design needed to convey the essence of key sports motifs without explicitly featuring human figures.

“One of the methods we employed to elaborate on the concept was through creative set design,” Worner recalls. “Rather than depending solely on traditional sports imagery, we fashioned a series of minimalist, industrial sets that integrated elements that not only symbolized sports but also introduced a hint of surrealism to the animations.”

DADA also experimented with animation and movement to make the sports elements come to life in a unique way by incorporating sports-related simulations that involved the transformation of objects through intense impacts, stretching, bouncing, fluid movements, and motion blurring. Executing everything in slow motion allowed them to maintain an elegant atmosphere and convey the energy inherent in various types of motion.

Executive Producer Ana Aguiar describes their overall design approach using a photoshoot analogy. “Cinema 4D allowed us to swiftly construct entire sets similar to a photoshoot environment. Each shot was meticulously composed by arranging 3D models within the scenes and establishing lighting sources to craft the desired ambiance.”

The team used ZBrush to add organic realism to models, Cinema 4D for animation and composition, Redshift to play with light and add an analog touch to cameras, lens effects and renders, and After Effects for compositing.

“Our objective was to create a visual style that conveyed the impression of rapid motion, as if captured at high speed, despite the animations being intentionally in slow motion,” explains Worner, noting that they simulated motion blur by animating the settings of the Redshift camera within C4D.

DADA’s team is looking forward to new creative challenges, and the fashion sector appeals to them for its emphasis on innovation and inclusiveness, Aguiar says. “There is much room for experimentation in that field, and we are currently looking for projects where we can dial up the surrealism level. Pointing to their recent self-initiated fashion project “Fata Morgana”, she explains that it allowed DADA to explore the possibilities of utilizing real models and merging live-action footage with 3D elements.

Ultimately, collaboration and team spirit make the long days in front of a screen worthwhile Worner says: “I would say the team spirit is really what fuels us to keep doing what we do. The sense of collective effort and the satisfaction of bringing artistic visions to life is what we find most enjoyable and fulfilling.”

Helena Swahn is a writer based in London, UK.